On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 12:15 PM Russell McOrmond <russellmcorm...@gmail.com>

> a) The question of when software is used as a viewer of art created by a
> human.  In this case there is two "works", the work of art and the software
> which is projecting it.  Running the software is not a public performance
> of the software, but a public performance of the art work.  Singing the
> source code might be interpreted as a performance of the software itself (I
> remember all the DECSS artwork), but I seriously doubt this is what people
> are trying to reference.

+1 on that.

> b) Then there is computer generated art, which I believe falls into the
> same debate as the Monkey selfie copyright dispute
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_selfie_copyright_dispute .

No, completely different.  The monkey acted spontaneously (not under the
control of any human being) but is inherently not a creator under copyright
law, so the monkey selfie is in the public domain.  Computers don't act
spontaneously (except when broken), they act under control of a human
programmer.  This is true even though programmers can't always foresee what
programs will do (if we could, there would be no bugs).  So
computer-generated art is neither a derivative of the program nor
independent of the program, and a display of it might well be a public
performance of the program.

> We can go further and suggest that the only thing that justifies copyright
> is to protect the rights of human authors (See: United Nations, Universal
> Declaration of Human Rights article 27 which is the best articulation of
> the balance of copyright).

Actually, I don't think it has anything to say about that.  27 says in full:

   1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of
   the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and
   its benefits.
   2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material
   interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of
   which he is the author.

I take s.2 to mean simply that no one can arbitrarily be denied copyright
or patent rights because of who they are.  It does *not* say anything about
what the "moral and material interests" in a particular country may be.
Note in particular the fundamental difference between common-law countries,
where copyright is a monopoly that is tolerated because of its social
benefits, and many civil-law countries like France, where it is a
fundamental human right and there is no balancing to do.

John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        co...@ccil.org
Evolutionary psychology is the theory that men are nothing but horn-dogs,
and that women only want them for their money.  --Susan McCarthy (adapted)
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